You may notice the early signs of pregnancy just one week after conception, with most early pregnancy symptoms occurring during the first four weeks. Not every woman will experience early pregnancy symptoms, and symptoms can vary from one pregnancy to the next. So what are the early signs of pregnancy? Read on to find out.
Spotting and Cramping
A few days after conception, the fertilised egg attaches to the uterus wall. This can cause slight spotting and cramping, and can occur anywhere between six and twelve days after fertilisation. In addition to spots of blood, a woman may also experience a white, milky discharge. The discharge is caused by the vagina walls thickening and is completely normal.
Changes in the Breasts
After conception, a woman’s hormone levels rise rapidly and this can lead to changes in the breasts. Usually occurring a week or two after conception, the breasts may feel sore and/or tingly. They may also feel heavier and tender to the touch. The areola (the area surrounding the nipples) may also darken. These symptoms can continue for several weeks as the body gets used to the increased hormones, but they should start to ease off as you enter the second trimester.
Higher Body Temperature
If you are trying to conceive, your doctor may have asked you to check your body’s temperature. The reason for this is that the body experiences an increase in temperature shortly after conception, and this can continue for two weeks or longer. If you feel warmer than usual, take your temperature. If it is around the 37.8C mark you may be pregnant.
Fatigue is common during the first trimester, and towards the end of the pregnancy. This is due to a number of things such as increased blood production, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and an increase in the hormone progesterone. If you find that fatigue is really getting you down, it is worth speaking to your doctor. He will assess you for iron deficient anaemia and advise you on the things you can do to help you cope.
Not every pregnant woman gets morning sickness, but most have heard about it. As hormone levels increase, it takes longer for the stomach to empty, which contributes to nausea. Although it is called ‘morning sickness’, the nausea can occur at any time of the day. Fortunately, morning sickness does tend to disappear after the 13th or 14 th week of pregnancy, however, this can be replaced by food cravings. It is important to try to eat a healthy diet to ensure that your baby is receiving the nutrients that it needs. A doctor or midwife can help advise you.
Pregnancy can be an emotional roller coaster, and with mood swings starting shortly after conception you may be wondering what you have let yourself in for. Mood swings are completely normal and are caused by the hormonal changes in your body. Your mood should begin to stabilise as you enter the second trimester, but in the meantime, try to eat healthily, get plenty of sleep, and take your prenatal vitamins. All of these can help improve your mood.
The missed period is the symptom that leads to many women taking a pregnancy test, however, it is important to be aware that some women do bleed during early pregnancy, and not all missed periods are due to pregnancy. If you are still in doubt after taking a home based pregnancy test, consult with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to take a blood test to confirm the pregnancy.
Remember that the only way to find out if you are definitely pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. Some of the symptoms described above can be caused by other things, so if you are in doubt, take a test. If you are pregnant, use our due date calculator to find out where you are in your pregnancy and what to expect. If you are trying to get pregnant, use the ovulation calculator to improve your chances of getting pregnant.